umbrella


umbrella

noun

  1. a light, small, portable, usually circular cover for protection from rain or sun, consisting of a fabric held on a collapsible frame of thin ribs radiating from the top of a carrying stick or handle.
  2. the saucer- or bowl-shaped, gelatinous body of a jellyfish; bell.
  3. something that covers or protects from above, as military aircraft safeguarding surface forces: an air umbrella.
  4. any general kind of protection: a price umbrella.
  5. something, as an organization or policy, that covers or encompasses a number of groups or elements.

adjective

  1. shaped like or intended to perform the function of an umbrella.
  2. having the quality or function of covering or applying simultaneously to a number of similar items, elements, or groups: an umbrella organization; umbrella coverage in an insurance policy.

noun

  1. a portable device used for protection against rain, snow, etc, and consisting of a light canopy supported on a collapsible metal frame mounted on a central rod
  2. the flattened cone-shaped contractile body of a jellyfish or other medusa
  3. a protective shield or screen, esp of aircraft or gunfire
  4. anything that has the effect of a protective screen or cover
    1. any system or agency that provides centralized organization or general cover for a group of related companies, organizations, etcdance umbrella
    2. (as modifier)an umbrella fund; umbrella group

n.c.1600, first attested in Donne’s letters, from Italian ombrello, from Late Latin umbrella, altered (by influence of umbra) from Latin umbella “sunshade, parasol,” diminutive of umbra “shade, shadow” (see umbrage). A sunshade in the Mediterranean, a shelter from the rain in England; in late 17c. usage, usually as an Oriental or African symbol of dignity. Said to have been used by women in England from c.1700; the first rain-umbrella carried by a man there was traditionally c.1760, by Jonas Hathaway, noted traveler and philanthropist. Figurative sense of “authority, unifying quality” (usually in a phrase such as under the umbrella of) is recorded from 1948.

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